Brett Favre often gets a lot of crap for not “mentoring” Aaron Rodgers after he was drafted in the first round. Sure he might not have held his hand to take his job but that doesn’t mean Rodgers (or any other Favre backup) didn’t learn anything sitting behind one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. In fact, I would say that most of Favre’s backups had successful careers of their own after leaving Green Bay, so I went ahead and made a list of the most notable to follow #4 and have success in the league. (in no particular order)
- Mark Brunell is the first that comes to mind.
- Brunell was taken by the Packers in the 5th round in 1993 and sat behind Favre before being traded for by the Jaguars in 1995. Brunell was Jacksonville’s first quarterback and would lead them to a 14-2 record and the AFC championship game in 1999, the farthest the Jags have ever gone in the playoffs. He played 9 years in Jacksonville before moving on to start for the Redskins for a couple years and becoming a reliable backup later in his career. He retired when he was 41 and is on TV now and is usually very enjoyable to listen to unless he’s crying about deflated footballs.
- Matt Hasselbeck
- Hasselbeck was taken by the Packers in the 6th round of the 1998 NFL draft and stuck around before moving to Seattle with former Packer’s coach Mike Holmgren. He played in Seattle for 10 years and made 11 postseason starts as a Seahawk including one Super Bowl loss to the Steelers and one infamous loss against the Packers in overtime where he “wanted the ball and was gonna score“. After Seattle, Hasselbeck was a reliable backup and retired when he was 40 after Andrew Luck got hurt and made him get beat up for 8 games.
- Aaron Rodgers
- Rodgers is easily the best former Favre backup and will quite possibly go down as better than the gunslinger one day (might be there already). Rodgers was taken in the first round in 2005 after falling from being the possible #1 pick. When he fell to the Packers, Favre was quoted as saying he wouldn’t mentor Rodgers or something (taken way out of context) and that started the awkward relationship between Favre and Rodgers that has recently been fixed(?). Rodgers took over in 2008 after Favre led the Packers to the NFC championship game then retired and un-retired for like the 3rd year in a row at that point (3rd of probably 6 years in a row). He came back and got kicked out of town to New York and many fans were very upset at Rodgers but he quickly won them over and became the baaaaad baaaad man we know and love today. Rodgers is a two-time MVP (so far) and one-time Super Bowl MVP (again, so far). If he keeps it up for another couple of years, Rodgers could (and should) go down as one of the best if not the best quarterback to ever play the game of football.
- Honorable mention (the were Favre backups, but don’t really count)
- Kurt Warner
- Warner has won a couple of MVPs and one Superbowl (lost a couple) but was only Favre’s backup for a short time after bagging groceries and being in the arena league for a couple years.
- Jim McMahon
- The punky QB was Favre’s backup when the Packers won the Superbowl in 1996. McMahon was the QB for the ’85 Bears and sailed into the sunset getting another ring with the Pack.
- Kurt Warner
So even if Favre never “mentored” his backups to get them ready to take his job if he went down (because obviously), but watching how he worked couldn’t have hurt either.